by Joe May, Morae as published in Corporate Counsel Business Journal
Lessons from fashion maverick Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia about the sustainability of long-term partnerships.
I was recently discussing with a client how concepts around sustainability in the clothing and retail sector relate to legal spend, and how lessons from Patagonia can be adopted successfully by legal teams.
The pressure to cut external legal spend is greater than ever. Corporates have for years sought to claw back cash from the wheelbarrows full that are carted off to their panel law firms each year. A wealth of solutions have been thrown at the problem, most with limited success and often with long-term damaging effects to the business. Savings are often achieved in the short term, but at what cost?
General counsel talk of the trade-off between cost, quality and increasing the risk profile to the business, and yet there still doesn’t seem to be a happy medium for anyone. Expensive spend reduction consultations are repeated yearly as costs inevitably increase as a result of poor internal financial hygiene habits. (Does no one read David Maister anymore?)